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In-Class Critiques => Jazz Concert Critiques => : Brian C. Wuttke January 14, 2010, 06:37:54 PM

: Cotton Club Review 2/25
: Brian C. Wuttke January 14, 2010, 06:37:54 PM
Cotton Club Review
Thursday, November 25th, 7:30 pm
Location: McCarthy Hall, Room 6120

: Re: Cotton Club Review 2/25
: mario6188 April 11, 2010, 07:17:08 PM

I was able to attend “The Cotton Club” concert on the McCarty Theatre, room 6120 of Miami Dade, Kendal Campus. Being that this was my second concert, I was expecting for it to be something like my first concert which was the Jazz assemble concert, but on the contrary it was very different. To start with, the setting was not the same. This setting was more like a small band. It did have a pianist, one drummer, a bassist, one saxophonist, a trumpeter and one trombonist. There were five microphones in the front stage and one to the side. I was not sure why so many microphones were needed, but I figure there would be use for all of them. The band members were on the stage when I walked in and it was a surprise for me, there were no students all members looked like professional players. As soon as the music started I knew it was going to be a night to remember. The sixth microphone was being used by the mistress of ceremony, who started trying to get the crow into it from the beginning by letting us know what was coming. Now that I am a little be more educated on some of the jazz rhythm, I was expecting from the beginning to be able to tell what style of jazz was being played, for some songs I could tell, but not for all of them. As soon as the first song started to play, I started to see movement in the crowd not knowing that some of the performers were located within all of the people in the audience, they all started to walk toward the center of the stage, I believe three of them came from behind the stage and two from the front and side of the audience, as they were moving they were singing. It was a very nice song, very smooth and a little slow it sounded like the blue, just like a warm up song for something bigger to come. One thing that I like very much was that the mistress of ceremony was introducing the songs with a little history; she also mentioned a few names that are now very familiar to me, like Nat king Cole, Duke Ellington, Michael Jackson, and Billie Holiday. After the first song she actually gave us some information as to how the cotton club started. She mentioned that it started in Harlem, New York, where black performers were being watched by a rich white audience. I am glad to see the evolution of jazz where there are no colors but just music compare to back then. The subsequent songs were played and almost every singer had the chance to perform their own solo. Ali Stewart performed “Straight Up and Fly Right” which was a very good performance; although I think that I was able to notice that in this performance she missed a note. In this song we had he chance to see the trumpeter Mike O’Donnell; perform his solo with a mute plunger in his trumpet. Cedrick Davis performed a very familiar song, Frank Sinatra’s “Fly me to the Moon”. I have heard this song many times before, being that I come from New York. They were all great performers and very professionals. In my opining there were two singers that deserve great recognition for the way they performed, the first one is Kim Bankston, he sang “unforgettable”, “Satin Doll”, and “Route 66”, they were all great performances, he also played a little Piano, and even the vibraphone. It was worth it to see him performed. The second person was Deborah Powell, she performed “to close for comfort. “Smile” and “GOD Bless the Children” I loved her voice she was able to hit very high notes without any problems. As for the musicians, I love the way they played, but the band director Mr. Tom McCormick stole the show, he performed various solos, people loved the way he played.
The closing of the concert was very nice, they performed the same song that they introduced the concert with, “It Don’t mean a Thing”, but this time it was different, all of the singer went into the audience while they were singing, looking for people to get into the groove and they asked for people to sing along with them, there is a little part of the song that they were asking people to sing, it was ‘it don’t mean a thing if you don’t have a swing”. Only one person was able to sing it with the jazz rhythm, he was pretty good and everybody started to clap their hand when they heard him sing it.
In conclusion this has been the best concert I have been in so far. it was very nice and the music was enjoyable.

: Re: Cotton Club Review 2/25
: jessica5665 April 21, 2010, 09:14:43 PM
I can honestly say that the experience I had at The Cotton Club performance was an unexpected one. I went to this performance because I needed to. I loved this performance, however, because it put me in the 1920’s where the glimpse of great artistry was before my eyes and no longer in a book. What immediately caught my attention was the Cotton Club sign overhead the Mistress of Ceremony. What made this concert different than any other was the fact that we were taken back in time to the Cotton Club instead of the band just doing they’re rendition of the great music. The theatre was packed. And luckily I got a seat in the third row from the stage. They set the atmosphere wonderfully and I sat there feeling like an anxious child just arriving at Disney World wondering what was in store. The ensemble began playing while the Mistress introduced the first act, and I actually knew the song. “It don’t mean a ‘thaaang’ if it aint got that ‘swaaaang’ (doo-ah doo-ah doo-ah doo-ah doo-ah doo-ah doo-ah)” The singers were coming from the sides of the stage and made their way to center stage. I hate to say, but once the singers came out, all of my focus was on them and not the band. It was three women and two men who were in front of the microphones. The band consisted of all men: one on trombone, another on trumpet, a saxophonist, pianist, and a bassist. This song and “Fever” were the only songs that featured all five singers. After each singer had their own solo, and the trumpet and trombone took theirs, the music mellowed down and the singers shuffled off the stage and the band did their finish. The mistress continued to take us down memory lane as she introduced the next act and the one after that. They weren’t any of my favorites. I did, however, like the number by Deborah Powell “Too Close for Comfort.” She was actually my professor my first semester at Miami Dade. I was really looking forward to the Jazz Poetry because that’s something we never went over in class but was disappointed because the performer was not there and they politely skipped over that. The next three songs were okay and continued to add to the relaxed feel of the show. I was excited once I heard the piano and bass start with the cymbal keeping a beat. The singers started walking out snapping to the beat. And once again they stole the show. I wish they would have had a few more band members to give a more powerful sound like the Cotton Club was known for. I had more expectations for the band performance but was only blown away by the vocalists. I did recognize the harmon mute when the player used it for one of the slower songs. I liked the sound more in the performance setting than on a recording. Like I said before, I really would have liked to see more musicians in the band; maybe more trumpet and saxophone players definitely. This performance had to be better than any performance I’ve attended though and would love to be a part of it again.

: Re: Mario6188
: jessica5665 April 21, 2010, 09:21:32 PM
I have to agree with you about Professor Powell. She was my favorite performer that night. And the finale had to be the greatest finale. So many people got to showcase their talents but most of all everyone in the audience was having a great time. Aside from the performance, I believe thats why the show was such a great pleasure to everyone.

: Re: Cotton Club Review 2/25
: sergio1413 April 22, 2010, 09:12:40 AM
Sergio Perilla
MUL 2380
1st Concert Critique
The Cotton Club  

The concert that I attended was The Cotton Club An Evening of Jazz and Poetry. This concert was held on February 25, 2010 at The McCarthy Theatre Room 6120 MDC Kendall Campus. Mrs. Vania Albury was the mistress of ceremony. . The Cotton Club musicians are the following: Kim Bankston (Vocals, Vibraphone), Cedric Davis (Vocals), Shirly Ferguson (Vocals), Deborah Powell (Vocals), Ali Stewart (Vocals), Brandon Bryant (Trombone), Dan Matheson (Piano), Dan McGovern (Drums), Mike O’Donell (Trumpet), Don Wilner (Bass) and Thomas McCormick (Sax and Musical Director).
The First song played was the Duke Ellington’s signature song “Take The A Train”. This piece is one of the most covered songs by high schools bands and college combos. Having heard different versions of the song this particular version was a really good piece of art. With a masterful saxophone improvisations from Mr. McCormick, also is important to appreciate the beautiful improvisations from the trombone and the piano, the improvisations from the trumpet and the bass were fair enough to keep the public attention over the song.
The second song was “It Don’t Mean A Thing” this song was not the best performance, Because the volume between singers and instruments were disproportionate at the beginning of the song it looked like a problem with the live sound or the microphones, but after the engineer adjusted the volume I noticed that one of the singers Mrs. Ali Stewart was singing loud overpowering the instruments. The musicians take turns to improvise, first the trombone played a nice solo, after the trombone the trumpet played the solo the third instrument was the baritone sax. That was the best performance of the song Mr. McCormick played an amazing improvisation with the baritone, after the sax the piano, bass and drums played in turns until the end of the song. The third song “Straighten Up and Fly Right” was a good vocal interpretation from Mrs. Ali Stewart with no improvisations or variations at all. The song “Unforgettable” was performed by Kim Bankston and was an excellent version of the beautiful ballad popularized by Nat King Cole in 1951, with a good balance between singer and instruments.
“To Close for Comfort” performed by Deborah Powell demonstrates the high vocal quality of Mrs. Powell, and also is important to notice the bass playing a walking line giving the song an special grooving, the horn section kept a constant question and answer between them and also interacting with the singer. “Satin Doll” was the instrumental masterpiece of the evening with a powerful interpretation from Mr. Bankston playing the vibraphone with a good interaction with the cymbals in the traditional question and answer form. Is important to notice how the vibraphone being percussion instrument was capable of substoyute the singer in this beautiful song. The last song that I am going to refer today is ”Fly Me To the Moon” this popular song written by Bart Howard was interpreted for Cedric Davis, he began to sign a capella and then the bass began a walking line keeping the pace for the whole song. The saxophone played a studied solo with no improvisation at all and in some parts the vibraphone was playing the drum set part. I hope, that The Cotton Club play more concerts in the near future in order to enjoy with the high quality of their performances.                

: Re: Cotton Club Review 2/25
: marcello5841 April 22, 2010, 07:51:19 PM
I attended the Cotton Club concert. This was the first time I have ever attended a jazz concert and I really enjoyed it. In the Prelude I really enjoyed the trumpet, I’m not a great fan of jazz but luckily I was able to take a class to better appreciate what this music is all about, and for me the trumpet and sax are key elements in jazz, and all that was put in action in this song. I think that the Prelude gave a very good mood to the concert; it was a perfect start for a wonderful night. In the first song “I Don’t Mean A Thing”, the drums and bass where playing almost all the time keeping a really good pace with the singers. After that they played the song “Straighten UP and Fly High”, where the piano had a very important role which I liked very much because when I was young I used to play the piano so I felt much related. The sax also gave me a very good impression but the piano for me was the best. For some reason I enjoyed more the instrumental part than the vocal, I don’t mean that the vocals were bad; I just think that the instrument players did a fantastic job. “Unforgettable” was just that, unforgettable. The sax, trumpet and trombone were great. The sax had to be great because the director was playing it but the one I most liked was the trombone. I liked when the sax and the piano play together at the end of the song, I thought that that sound was really something to appreciate. “Too close For Comfort”, the piano, drums and bass start everything up before the wind instruments take over the show. I really enjoyed this song and I can say that I was one of my favorites of the night. After that they played “Jazz poetry”, that performance was something odd in the show. I had never seen that instrument in any jazz song that we have listened to, but still I enjoyed it very much. It was kind of a Mexican instrument because when I go to Mexico I see people in the street sometimes playing it, so I assume it is from there. The one I really didn’t like was “Fly Me to the Moon”, its not that I don’t like the song, in fact I love it, it’s just that I don’t think they where even close to what Sinatra did. Some songs are too big for anyone to play them and Fly me to the Moon is one of them.
Probably my favorite of the night was “Harlem Night Song”, like I said before I love the piano and because piano was the only instrument, you could really appreciate the sound.
“Fever” kind of reminded me what jazz is all about, and that is party. “Smile” was also one of my favorites; they played it during Michael Jackson’s funeral. It was very emotive and I think most of the people loved that they played it. Route 66 is a classic but I enjoyed the pianist because not only did he play but he was also singing, when I used to play I could’ve never been able to concentrate on doing both things at the same time. To wrap it all up, I think that the ending was great, everyone singing “It don’t mean a thing”. I don’t think they could’ve picked a better song to end the night. I really enjoyed the concert and I will probably attend to more even if the class has already ended.

: Re: Cotton Club Review 2/25
: Daniel5005 April 23, 2010, 08:16:47 AM
Concert Critique #1
During Black History Month there was a presentation of The Cotton Club at McCarthy Theatre on Thursday February 25, 2010 at 7:00 PM. When I stepped inside I saw the lights were dimmed to recreate the mood of a nightclub setting. The Mistress of Ceremony Vanya Albury came out to welcome us to the Cotton Club and introduced the MDC-Cotton Club Ensemble who played a Prelude while she was talking.

The first song “It Don’t Mean a Thing” was performed by:  Kim Bankston, Cedrick Davis, Shirly Ferguson, Deborah Powell and Ali Stewart; said song was played by Duke Ellington’s Band which helped increase its popularity. The next two songs were written by Nat King Cole, “Straighten Up and Fly Right” interpreted by Ali Stewart; I noticed the Trumpeter used a mute to play this song. The following song titled “Unforgettable” was interpreted by Kim Bankston who happens to me a male vocalist/musician. The fourth song titled “Too Close for Comfort” was interpreted by a former professor named Deborah Powell, this song used to be part of Ella Fitzgerald’s repertoire. Kim Bankston was singing and then put down the microphone and walked over to the Xylophone where he began to play the melody of the fifth song titled “Satin Doll”; I was amazed by his speed and agility while the rhythm section provided the accompaniment. For the next song Cedrick Davis interpreted “Fly Me to the Moon” while Kim Bankston continued playing the Xylophone. You had to be there to see the level of instrument proficiency with which he played; he was “jamming” on that instrument.

Halfway through the Concert, Vanya Albury read a poem named “Harlem Night Song” while the six man band played in the background. “Fever” was one of my favorite songs of the night, it was interpreted by the five vocalist previously mentioned. The next two songs were not written by Nat King Cole but he did help make them more popular, “Smile” was interpreted by Deborah Powell and “Route 66” by Kim Bankston. I observed that Deborah Powell sang like she was feeling what she was singing which made her stand out from the other vocalists. I noticed Kim Bankston’s deep voice added depth and fullness to “It Don’t Mean a Thing” and “Fever”. The last two songs performed are titled “Do Nothing ‘Til You Hear from Me” interpreted by Ali Stewart and “God Bless the Child” by Deborah Powell. On the latter the Drummer used wire brushes and there was an improvised Alto Sax solo.

In conclusion, I liked the feel and mood in the Cotton Club, the crowd was snapping their fingers, tapping their feet, and at other times clapping to the music. The event was well organized and the acoustics and decorations were good which added to the overall experience. Going to this Concert wet my appetoye and has sparked greater interest in Jazz. I’m glad I took advantage of the opportunity to attend a free concert and that I got to expand my horizon by trying something new.

: Re: Cotton Club Review 2/25
: Daniel5005 April 23, 2010, 08:32:49 AM
Musicians: Brandon Bryant, Trombone; Dan Matheson, Piano; Thomas McCormack, Sax; Dan McGovern, Drums; Don Wilner, Bass and Mike O'Donnell, Trumpet (used Harmon mute on Straighten Up and Fly Right).

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